The MOTH (man of the house) and myself spent a four day weekend catching up with a girlfriend who lives in Melbourne. We became friends through our husbands who worked together and have maintained the friendship link as first she moved country, then we moved country and then we reconnected and then we drifted apart. It has been six years since our last meeting and while I had thought of her often I no longer knew how to reconnect. Neither of us realised but we were simultaneously having similar thoughts about where the other was. At the time I was suspending my Facebook account, she found the MOTH via that social networking medium and voila here we are. Funny old thing, life!
The highlight of the weekend was the time spent with my friend and her three sons. We packed a week of sightseeing into a few days, but being together for the drives provided opportunities to fill in the six year gap. While she and I sat up front, her partner and the MOTH road shotgun in the back. The men behaved well considering the countless temptations to butt in and comment on either the driving skills or many pit stops.
Today’s post is a photo memory of our Great Ocean Road road trip but first a little historic background. We enjoy This scenic drive is a major tourist attraction thanks to the vision of one man, Geelong mayor in the early 1900s. Howard Hitchcock. His vision was two-pronged.
- It provided employment for World War I soldiers returning home
- It would open up the coastline for locals and others to enjoy.
He was not to know his project would become one of Australia’s major tourist attractions.The Great Ocean Road was built by WWI returned service men and is a permanent memorial to those who died while fighting in that war. The road was carved into the rock and winds around a portion of the southern coast of Australia. As early as 1880 plans were afoot to help ease the rugged coach track through dense bush to railways between the towns, now cities, or Lorne and Geelong.
However, it wasn’t until after the war when thousands of returning soldiers were employed in the construction of the road. Picks and shovels were their tools and the only transport available were horse-drawn carts. Survey work began in August 1918 and the road officially opened in November 1932. It is humbling that having given so much for their country these men returned to engage in back-breaking work to build something of such magnitude and significance for Australia.
Arguably the most magnificent kilometres of this road are the rock stacks that rise out of the ocean along the coastline: known as The Twelve Apostles. The stacks were formed from the limestone cliffs that have been eroded by the southern ocean and the wind. Sadly only eight of the twelve formations remain and some of these are quite small. Scenic lookouts offer breath taking views from one headland to the next with pristine beaches, islands and a wild variety of vegetation.
The picnic goodies, drink bottles and cameras were loaded into the car at 8.00am on Saturday morning and we wouldn’t return home unit 11.15pm that night. Yes, it was a long day but what a fabulous experience for us girls to catch up in such exquisite surroundings. The shutterbug in me was all but done in and some 300 happy snaps later it is a road trip we will never forget.
For four short but wonderful days we stepped off the merry-go-round of our lives and caught our breath and reconnected with very special people in our lives. It hard to believe we were in that exquisite part of Australia a mere five days ago. Catching up was good therapy and evidence that one never loses a true friend which leave me wondering where our next road trip will take us.